Google Chrome has supported some virtual reality headsets like Oculus Rift on Windows for almost a year now, through Google’s WebVR program, but Windows Mixed Reality headsets were notably incompatible. This is soon to change, as a new flag coming to Chrome will enable early testing of Windows Mixed Reality headsets with WebVR.
For the last few years, Microsoft has been putting its focus into the Windows Mixed Reality platform, which combines virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) into one, far more affordable package. Since launch, Windows Mixed Reality support has been picked up by games and productivity software alike, including Steam and (soon-to-be Chrome sibling) Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge has proven that the WebVR standard is ready for Windows Mixed Reality devices.
A new Chromium commit shows us that WebVR support for Windows Mixed Reality headsets in Chrome is on the way, with a new flag to enable it.
Windows Mixed Reality support
If enabled, Chrome will use Windows Mixed Reality devices for VR (supported only on Windows 10 or later).
Unfortunately, it’s a “build flag,” meaning you won’t be able to just go to chrome://flags and flip a switch. Build flags can only be enabled before you build Chrome (or Chromium, in this case) from its source code.
No other code has been associated with this flag yet, so don’t expect Windows Mixed Reality support to arrive in Chrome too soon, but it’s good to know that Google still has it on their radar. It’s very possible that this change is related to Microsoft’s work to rebuild Edge based on Chrome’s Blink engine.